Whenever I read a romantic novel, I can’t help but realise the writings mirror reality of every day life – the formation of a relationship is never easy – despite the age. Two people may like each other but it’s in a nutshell pretty much a game..
Does he, does he not… sleepless nights wondering.. One doesn’t want to be forward as not knowing where they stand with the other and not wanting to come out as ‘strong’ or as ‘easy’.. On the other hand, often the feelings aren’t revealed given uncertainty or fears of commitment or even distrust given one’s own childhood experiences or even pride. Forming a relationship is never easy.
In recent days I have seen many a posts on FB with Ruth and Boaz and hence was pondering on it. Let me first clarify that this is only one story of one couple and thus it isn’t “THE” way but it gives some insight and thus food for thought.
Ruth asked her mother in law to let her go to the fields and glean “after him in whose sight I may find favor” and Naomi agreed. Was this God’s prompting that she felt? Perhaps, perhaps not… However scripture does mention, “she happened to come to the … field belonging to Boaz“.
We read of Boaz coming to his field and telling the reapers, “The Lord be with you“.
- What does this say about about Boaz? How many bosses will greet their employees in such a manner?
He noticed this ‘young woman’ in the middle of the fields in the midst of the other young women. For Boaz to have noticed her, it meant that he knew his workers. I personally believe that the word ‘noticed’ is more about realising someone else other than his employees being in his field.
His servant who was in charge of these reapers had given Ruth the permission to glean. If the master had been ruthless (ooops he was without Ruth then!!) would the servant have dared to give permission without first consulting his master? Boaz obviously was a man who not just did lip service to God (greeting with God’s name) but was a man who was caring and generous.
- Well, if a man was truly spiritual wouldn’t his life over flow with God’s love and not stop with mere words?
Boaz not only lets Ruth glean in his field, he goes a few steps further to show compassion and love. He ensures her safety / protection (told her not to go other fields and had instructed the other young men not to touch here etc) and makes sure she won’t go thirsty and to ensure she had more than enough… Boaz also invited her at mealtime to partake of what the others were eating. Not only that he acknowledges her work and blesses her spiritually too,
“The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord God of Israel,
under whose wings you have come for refuge“
- Under whose wings have you gone for refuge?
We don’t see Boaz interacting with Ruth after that – he maintained a distance however that AFTER ensuring her needs were met and she was taken care of. Perhaps he maintained a distance because he knew that there was another kinsman redeemer – a closer male relative who had the right to marry Ruth.. He was obviously a gentleman doing what was right let alone caring for her needs.
Naomi too obviously would have been aware of the kinsman redeemer not being Boaz. Nonetheless, Ruth’s mother in law pushes her to ‘make the move’. Carefully read her instructions:
‘”Wash and perfume yourself, and put on your best clothes.
Then go down to the threshing floor,
but don’t let him know you are there until he has finished eating and drinking.
When he lies down, note the place where he is lying. Then go and uncover his feet and lie down.
He will tell you what to do.”
- When do you put on your best clothes?
Wash, perfume, best clothes – preparation to put the best foot forward.. Naomi also specifies the timing “Don’t let him know you are there until…”. She also guides Ruth to a point of surrender, of humility – to make herself vulnerable and express being available.. “He will tell you what to do” Naomi doesn’t tell Ruth to guide the man but rather to allow the man to make the decisions.
The startled Boaz seeing Ruth laying at his feet not even in one instance doubted her virtue nor did he condemn her. Instead, he recognised things for what they were. Even in that situation, Boaz continued to protect Ruth. He respected her. Naomi assures Ruth that Boaz “will not rest until the matter is settled today”. And sure enough Boaz didn’t procrastinate. He did what was right by Ruth – gave the nearest kinsman redeemer the opportunity and then stepped in.
True love will indeed result in actions. Since he sincerely cared about her, he ensured her needs were met. A man who can’t put God first in his life cannot sincerely care about a woman. He will be after his own needs and would demand attention. Even if he cares about the woman, it would be on a superficial basis.
I agree – Boaz was wealthy and thus was able to go the extra mile. However, when a man is after God’s own heart, God will make the way for a man to provide and protect his partner – perhaps not wants and luxuries but at least the needs. A man will make time for the woman he loves despite heavy schedules. Well, if a man can’t find a few minutes in his day to at least send a text inquiring after her, how much of time will this man find to love and care for his wife during the rest of his life? A godly man will not procrastinate when the opportunity presents itself… and a godly man will not doubt or be suspicious of a woman who makes herself vulnerable to allow him to know that she is willing to be his wife.
Pride does not enter the scene of sincere love, for those who are striving for marriage – as long as it is done prayerfully with the leading of the Holy Spirit. We should guard our heart but the moment we know God’s leading, we need to be ready to humble ourselves. That is the foundation of a godly marriage.
Love isn’t about words alone but about actions too…
- Ruths – what type of man are you interested in? First and foremost, is he a man who looks to God not only in words but actions too? Does he claim love and not show it in actions?
- Boazs – are you able to identify the woman’s virtue and respect her for making herself vulnerable? Are you able to see her work and all that she has done especially as she goes under the wings of God for refuge?
A man or woman who looks to God and is led by God
will definitely be able to love and be a comparable helper to the other
despite weaknesses as God’s love is what drives them…